Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Hoyer also noted Mike Olt will have to prove that he can hit against Major League quality pitching to win the job at third base.
Murphy, 30, was acquired by the Cubs in April 2013, and hit a career-high 11 home runs last season in only 46 games and a .956 fielding percentage with 10 errors in 42 games at third. This off-season, Murphy signed a one-year deal for $825K plus incentives.
Valbuena, 28, hit .218/.331/.378 with 12 home runs and a .708 OPS in 108 games for the Cubs last season. In 94 games, Valbuena had a .967 fielding percentage and committed seven errors compared to his .963 percentage and seven errors in 2012. The Venezuelan native’s primary position is third base, but he also played second base and outfield for the Cubs.
Olt, 25, was acquired in the Matt Garza trade from the Texas Rangers in July of 2013 and is the No. 5-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com. He was hit in the head while plying in the Dominican Winter League in 2012 and had been plagued by vision problems last April.
While at Texas, Olt was waiting his turn behind Adrian Beltre and now he has a chance to start at third base for the Cubs. In 2013, Chicago used six different third baseman and they combined to bat .221, the lowest at that position in the National League and conversely hit 30 home runs, the second best in the NL.